Troy Brouwer has known for about a week that he’d be making his debut Monday night as a Washington Capital, and he’s eager to get going. After spending the summer rehabbing his shoulder and getting traded for the first time in his career, Brouwer wants to get off to a good start with Washington in a preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“I haven’t really put on a Caps jersey, except for my team photo, so it’s going to be an exciting day for me,” Brouwer said. “I’ve been looking forward to this.”
Brouwer’s first game as a Capital will come on the right wing of the top line as he becomes the latest to audition this preseason for that spot alongside Alex Ovechkin. Coach Bruce Boudreau acknowledged that from the time Washington traded for Brouwer, he wondered if the winger would fit with the star left wing.
Of all the possibilities – Brouwer, Mike Knuble or Joel Ward – Brouwer adds a younger, more physical edge. He likes to hit as much as Ovechkin does, and while it may take some time for Brouwer to grow accustomed to playing with the two-time Hart Trophy winner, he already knows he must play his own game regardless if he’s skating with Ovechkin.
“You can’t get sucked into his game, I guess you could say,” Brouwer said. “He’s really good at what he does, but not everybody is. I’m not going to go out there and try to be a dangler or have that wow factor of watching him do his thing. I’ll just do what I do, which is go in the corners, finish my checks, try to get him the puck and hopefully he can do what he does after that.”
Brouwer added that he hopes he gets the opportunity to play with Ovechkin for a few games and practices in order to understand the way he plays and for each to grow comfortable with the other.
One thing Brouwer isn’t worried about at this point, though, is his shoulder. He underwent surgery to repair his right shoulder this summer but his progress has been on schedule and the contact he’s taken in practices hasn’t caused any setbacks. The next step is a game.
“I haven’t even been icing it after practice, it feels that good. I’ve had no problems with it,” Brouwer said, adding that he hopes to see a few more games of preseason action. “I don’t know how many they’d like to get me into, but I’d like to get into a couple more at least just so I’m at full game-speed when the regular season starts up.”